January 2008 Dirty Dozen

Thursday, January 3, 2008 5:43 PM

Happy New Year! In the wake of the chaos of all things holiday, we now have the time to catch up on all we missed as the blur of turkey, parties, presents, family, and bubbly has gone by like a runaway TGV train. So as we ease back to normalcy, we offer a capital idea: The Dirty Dozen. 12 bottles of wine, 6 white and 6 red, as different from each other as we could pick them, all in one box for the unbelievable price of $109 Happy New Year!

2006 Petite Cassagne Blanc- $9.99, reorder $7.99
Tried any white wines from in or around the Rhône from the 2006 vintage? If not, you’d better get on board before the point-chasers get involved. Always known for their zesty, fleshy fruit, the ‘06’s show more zippy acidity which puts them over the top when compared to other vintages. How can you resist at this price? Chicken with rosemary works here.

2006 Chardonnay, Madigan- $12.98 net price, reorder $11.68
We all have heard the stories, and most of us have told them as well. We’re talking about ye olde, “I remember when Chateau such and such was 10 bucks, etc.” California Chardonnays are no exception, as many have doubled in price in the last decade. Madigan is the 2nd label of White Rock, and it’s amazing what they can do for under $13! Crack the crab!

2006 Marsanne/Viognier, Boudinaud – $12.99, reorder $10.39
Another 2006 white, another winner. The aromatics hint at tropical fruit, the palate is dry, revealing fleshy fruit, and the acidity braces the whole ball of wax through to the finish which is crisp and clean. Pour this one along side some fettucine in a cream sauce with a little lemon zest. Bonus points if you toss in some sea scallops.

2005 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre- $7.95 sale price, reorder $7.55
Just like the white wines of Bordeaux, this Montravel Blanc is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and this one adds 10% Muscadelle. A steal at $7.95, this wine works well as a party starter or as a cocktail wine, but don’t hesitate to pop one with your meal, especially if it’s clam & garlic pizza.

2005 Pinot Blanc Tradition, René Muré- $14.99, reorder $11.99
Here’s a white wine we all should be drinking more of. Dry yet fruity, showing notes of mineral, clean on the palate with a smooth finish; it’s under $15, we certainly should be drinking more of this. A great match with dim sum and tapas, it’s just something good to have around for its ability to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

2007 Pinot Grigio, Inacayal Vineyards- $12.99, reorder $10.39
Wait. Wasn’t 2007 just a few days ago? Keep in mind that in the Southern Hemisphere harvest is in March, and this wine hails from Argentina, so we know that this ain’t no Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s Pinot Grigio from below the Equator that is lively on the palate, sports an abundance of fruit buoyed by lively acidity, and finishes with a kiss of honey.

2005 Chianti Montalbano, Enrico Pierzzuoli- $10.89, reorder $8.71
Last call! We’ve enjoyed both tasting and providing you with this medium bodied Chianti from the great vintage of 2005. Well, our supply is winding down, and if January is anything like December, look for this one to be substituted out of the Dirty Dozen mid-month, as our supply is limited. Pair it with meaty Italian dishes or pasta, how ‘bout Osso Bucco?

2005 Cabernet/Syrah, Mas de Guiot- $15.79, reorder $12.63
If Cab/Syrah is your thing, you’ll be delighted with this one. It has the complexity of a wine that would be twice the price if it was from Napa. Dark fruit, brilliant structure, notes of earthiness and leather, definitely the chewiest of this month’s DD. When you’re waiting for that rib-eye to rest after you take it off the heat, pop this.

2005 Grenache Noir, Domaine Gournier- $9.29, reorder $7.43
You just have to admire the Gournier wines. The labels just tell it like it is, no cute animals or family crests, just wine. Grenache is used in most southern Rhône blends, so if you’re looking for an example of it on its own, here’s the ticket.

2005 Fleurie, Domaine des Labourons- $15.99, reorder $12.79
We have our suspicions why a wine of this caliber is well under $20 per bottle. For those in the know, it delivers a ton of value. Delicious fruit, notes of earthiness and forest floor with a fairly lightweight profile. Did we mention the vintage?

2005 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, André Brunel- $12.99, reorder $10.39
Andre Brunel doesn’t need a vintage like ‘05 to get great results, but he got one anyway, so we all benefit. Such an easy wine to love, it’s another versatile one you can pop with a pizza, skirt steak, or just sip it with a baguette and bowl of olives.

2005 Tradicional, Quinta do Alqueve- $10.49, reorder $8.39
Guess that makes it a clean sweep of 2005 Reds. Not a bad thing. This one is fresh off the boat. If you’ve enjoyed this quinta’s blend of 4 grapes from Portugal in other vintages, get a load of this one. It has plenty of ripe fruit, structure, spice, and just the right amount of acidity to clearly make it the most versatile wine pairing-wise in the DD!


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The December 2018 Dirty Dozen

Monday, December 3, 2018 3:55 PM

The December 2018 Dirty Dozen

11 down, one to go! It’s December, and there’s no mistaking that chill in the air. The days have grown short, with the winter solstice coming up in a few weeks. We’ve already lit a few candles on the menorah, and we’ll be ready to trim the tree in time for Xmas. That makes this a super important time of year to be well stocked in the wine dept. 

The December Dirty Dozen has something for everyone; stop by and get your DD today!

Chillables Bottle Lineup

The Chillables

2016 Albariño, La Milla    $18.98 net price, $17.08 reorder        

Enthusiasts of crisp, mineral-driven whites are flocking to Albariño, especially those from Spain’s Rias Baxias region. La Milla is made from biodynamic and organically farmed vines, 40-80 years old, grown on shallow sandy soil in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Sleek peach and apple flavors meet with a note of anisette. Keep it raw, pair with sushi or ceviche.

2016 Rueda, Vevi   $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

The wine region of Rueda is located in the heart of Spain where the elevation is high and the climate continental. Rueda is the ancestral home of the Verdejo grape. Vevi’s Verdejo highlights its distinctive character, embracing vivid flavors of ripe pears. The wine sits on its lees for 4-6 months giving the wine its lush texture. Pair up with the catch of the day.

2017 Fiction White, Field Recordings   $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder      

Winemaker Andrew Jones claims to have stood in about every vineyard on CA’s Central Coast. This vast knowledge of the region helps him access the finest grapes. His Fiction White is a multivineyard blend of Chardonnay (80%) with Chenin Blanc and Verdelho. A combo of oak and stainless steel fermentation makes for a fleshy and lively wine. 

2017 Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Tour de l’Isle   $15.99, $12.79 reorder

Rhône scholar, Robert Rocchi, acts as a négociant to a handful of growers in the southern Rhône, making decisions on final blends. Made from Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Marsanne, and Clairette, it’s another great value from one of France’s value-centric regions. It shows aromas of pears and peaches and finishes soft and balanced. Happy crab season!

2014 Montagny Les Guignottes, Domaine Les Guignottes   $12.95 sale price, $12.30 reorder

White Burgundy in the Dirty Dozen. White Burgundy which is on-sale, no less! Montagny is an appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise, which is just south of Burgundy’s vaunted Côte d’Or. Only white wines are allowed to adorn the AOC on their bottles, and the grape is Chardonnay, of course.  This is an expressive, fruit driven white, pair it with scallops.

2017 Rosé À Lisa, Domaine Aspras   $13.99, $11.19 reorder

It’s one thing to ask any of us which Rosé is our favorite; answering that question would be subject to the mood we’re in.  Take a look at staff invoices and you’ll see that it’s this Rosé. Why not? It’s dry, crisp, and it has wonderful fruity aromas which lay in fine balance throughout the tasting experience. Pair it with a bowl of mussels and you’ll be set.

The Reds

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, CaliPaso   $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder

CaliPaso is a small, boutique winery that is attached to a private inn. We’ve been fond of their wines for some years as they offer both quality and value. The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is big, bold and redolent of black plums and red currant fruit. The oak presence matches beautifully to the fruit. Impactful on the palate, serve with premium cuts of roast beast.

2015 Zweigelt 1L, Zum Martin Sepp   $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

Switching gears here with a light-bodied, soft tannin red made from Zweigelt. Zum Martin Sepp is a small restaurant and inn located in the northern outskirts of Vienna. Winemaker Michi Martin adheres to organic practices, hand picks the grapes and ferments in stainless steel. Simple and delicious, try it with lighter fare like mushroom risotto or gnocchi.

2016 Gene, Gen Del Alma   $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder

Hailing from Argentina’s Gualtarry, a sub-region of Uco Valley, this is some wine. The vines are planted at the foot of the Andes at altitudes of 4600 feet! Gene is a blend of Bordeaux varietals, dominated by Malbec. Dark, crushed red cherries, forest floor and graphite flavors abound. Complex, give a decant if time permits. Grilled meats are a natural pairing.

2015 Bergerac, Château Calabre   $10.99, $8.79 reorder

Not far from Bordeaux, you’ll find the Dordogne River Valley and Bergerac. His winery may be in nearby Montravel, but Daniel Hecquet sources fruit from vineyards all around the area including Bergerac. Being so close to Bordeaux, it’s not surprising that this is made from Cab Sauvignon, Franc, and Merlot. It’s a lively number with good fruit. Burgers anyone?

2013 Syrah Agrippa, Grange des Rouquette   $17.59, $14.07 reorder

He doesn’t make it every year, but Thierry Boudinaud crafts this 100% southern Rhône Syrah when he feels he gets the proper ripeness, and names it after the Roman Governor who oversaw the building of the famous bridge, the Pont du Garde. It’s dark and savory with notes of spice, herbs, and earth. This is a great wine for a rainy night and a pot of stew.

2015 Château de Lagorce   $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder

From vineyards in Bordeaux’s Entre Deux Mers region, the 2015 de Lagorce is an outstanding value! It has floral and herbal notes in the aromas, a medium body, great balance, and a touch of class one doesn’t usually find at this price point. It’s a versatile red Bordeaux, thanks to that medium body, and pairs nicely with chops, meatloaf, pizza, and pasta.

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The January 2019 Dirty Dozen

Thursday, January 3, 2019 1:23 PM

The January 2019 Dirty Dozen

Happy New Year! 

Here we are again, it’s January, and the slate has been wiped clean.

2019 has arrived, and here in northern California, the chill is setting in (by our standards). We looked at today’s forecast, and it says that the next week will be a wet one. 

So, while we stay dry indoors, we’re thinking it’s time to make a hearty dish to pair with a wine from our January Dirty Dozen!

January 2019 Dirty Dozen - The Chillables

The Chillables

2015 Blanco, Vilerma  $19.98 net price, $17.98 reorder    

Traveling east from Rias Baixas in Spain, next up is Ribeiro. Here the influence of the Atlantic is still felt, but the rainfall is slightly lower and the temperatures slightly warmer. This blend of mostly Treixadura combines sunny, citrusy fruit with a solid backbone of acidity. Golden green color in the glass, pair with deep fried veggies or crustaceans. 

2017 Chardonnay, Fableist $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder

This Central Coast Chardonnay has been our bestselling white from California under $25 for several vintages. Rich and creamy with just the right amount of oak, it appeals to a wide range of palates that appreciate rich fruit, oaky notes and balance. The label attracts the eye, the wine keeps customers buying it over and over. Nosh with lemon roasted chicken. 

2017 Gemischter Satz DAC, Bernreiter $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder    

Vienna is the only world capital with a significant wine production. It has its own appellation and hundreds of years of wine history. Gemischter Satz is a single wine from a multiple varietal vineyard. Paul Bernreiter makes Gemischter Satz for his heuriger (wine bar/restaurant), but some makes it here. Lively, try with fried meat, cabbage or mushroom tarts. 

2016 Chateau Boisson Blanc, Bordeaux $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder

This estate owns nearly 30 acres of vines grown along the Garonne River. The vineyard sits atop a hill that overlooks ancient stone quarries. A 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, this tank-fermented white offers plenty of orange blossom and perky citrus notes. Ideal with ingredients like goat cheese, smoked salmon or trout and raw oysters.

2017 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Colle Maggio, Torre Zambra $16.99, $13.59 reorder

Limited contact between the grape skins and fermented juice creates the vibrant magenta color of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Torre Zambra’s is made exclusively from the varietal, Montepulciano. Cherry on the nose, cherry on the palate and cherry on the finish is the name of the game. Delicious with seafood stews, spicy sausage pizzas and cheesesteaks.

2017 Lugana, Ca’Lojera $16.99, $13.59 reorder

Lugana is a viticultural appellation that straddles the regional border of Lombardy in the west with Veneto in the east. Ca’Lojera’s vineyards are located near Brescia along the flatlands of Lake Garda. It is here that the grape Turbiana flourishes, producing wines of complexity and minerality. Lush and structured, pair up with pan-roasted halibut.

January 2019 Dirty Dozen - The Reds

The Reds

2017 Pinot Noir, Wonderwall $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder

This is the 3rd vintage we’ve stocked from winemaker Andrew Jones. His Wonderwall Pinot Noir offers great value, using fruit from well-placed vineyards along the Pacific Coast. Telltale flavors of red cherry, black tea and cola permeate the palate. Jammy, yet light on its feet, food pairing possibilities are endless. Coq Au Vin or Chicken Marbella would be nice!

2015 Rioja, Palacio del Burgo $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

This simple, delicious Tempranillo is yet another example of why Spain is where one should look first for well-made, affordable reds. Nothing fancy, the grapes are fermented in steel and aged in concrete vats. The flavors are redolent of black berry and tangy raspberry with gentle tannins and a plush mouthfeel. Serve with tagines, tahdiq or paella. 

2016 Rosso, Paolo Scavino $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

The Scavino family have been making world-famous Barolo since 1921. What a thrill to discover their Vino Rosso, a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera and Merlot. A delightful table wine that affords everyday enjoyment from a super star producer. Light to medium-bodied, tangy red fruit with lots of freshness. Pair with red-sauced pasta and/or meatballs.

2016 Chateau des Judes, Bordeaux $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder

70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, aged and fermented in steel tank.  Bright red berry and black currant aromas, palate is more focused and less whimsical, the fruit is part of the overall balanced structure. The finish is substantial with sticky tannins that linger.  Fans of The Beatles know what to hum when sipping this wine.

2013 Ventoux Rouge, Domaine de Fondreche $16.99, $13.59 reorder

A recent featured article in Wine Spectator described Fondreche’s Sebastien Vincenti as “an obsessively fastidious grower and winemaker”. His entry-level Ventoux (Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre) captures the essence of the region, making a red that combines mature fruit with a thread of freshness and minerality. Pair with Mediterranean cuisine.

2016 À Lisa Rouge, Domaine des Aspras $13.49, $10.79 reorder

Domaine des Aspras was established by the Lutz family in the early 1960’s. Mostly Merlot, the À Lisa is a funky, quirky Provençal red that highlights the impeccable organic farming of this estate. Unoaked with plenty of red berry fruit that couples harmoniously with the tame and mild tannins. Serve with Beef Daube, Stroganoff, Goulash or Bourguignon.

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The February 2019 Dirty Dozen

Friday, February 1, 2019 11:21 AM

The February 2019 Dirty Dozen

Brrr!! That chill in the air can only mean one thing, it's winter, February to be specific. Though the shortest month, there are plenty of reasons to be festive in February. You've got Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day at the very least. 

The February Dirty Dozen consists of 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their quality and versatility. Pack in a cheat-sheet with some background and pairing suggestions, and you're looking at the best wine deal in town!

The Chillables

2015 Juhfark, Tornai $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder        The Tornai family has been working vines in Hungary’s Somló region since 1946. Somló’s volcanic, basalt-rich soils are prized for growing wine grapes. Tornai’s Juhfark is the perfect introduction to this high-acid grape. The classic flavors of salt and smoke are present, without any botrytis, and finishes with a tart tang. Versatile, try it with salty, savory foods.

2017 Chenin Blanc, Kiona $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder     Washington State’s Kiona winery is the source for high quality, affordable wines. How do they do it? Their Chenin Blanc is a dead-ringer for Vouvray, expressing stone pit fruit and fresh acidity. The grapes are harvested early to retain freshness, then tank fermented. Ever so slightly off-dry, this wine is a dream for pairing possibilities! No limits here.

2017 Pinot Gris, Chemistry $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder        Chemistry is a first collaboration between Oregon’s Stoller Family Estates and Chehalem’s winemaking teams. This debut Pinot Gris promises good things to come. Sourcing throughout the Willamette Valley, blending diverse sites and keeping prices low, allows entrée to this special wine region. Lots of citrus with a kiss of papaya, striking a nice balance. 

2017 Ventoux Rosé, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder     We are big fans of winemaker Sébastien Vincenti and his wines from arguably the best vineyards of Ventoux. For his Rosé, Vincenti uses 50% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, and 25% Grenache from vines averaging 25+ years of age. Red berry fruit and minerals appear in the aromas and the palate is snappy and fresh with a crisp finish. Spicy Thai prawns? Pop this.

2017 Ortrugo, Cantine Fratelli Bonelli $12.99, $10.39 reorder     Ortrugo, anyone? This white grape, indigenous to the Piacenza region (roughly 65 km southeast of Milano), is one of hundreds of local Italian varieties awaiting discovery by the international market. First off, it’s dry. It shows floral aromas with maybe a hint of white pepper. Its light body makes it incredibly versatile, so pair it with shellfish or poultry.

2017 Montravel Terrement, Château Puy-Servain $14.99, $11.99 reorder    Way out near Bordeaux’s eastern frontier, across the Dordogne River lie the vineyards of Montravel. The area is mostly known for its white wines, though some red grapes grow there also. Château Puy-Servain’s white Terrement cuvée is one of our best bargains in the white wine world. A 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, pair it with a chèvre salad.

The Reds

2015 Monica di Sardegna, Argiolas $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder  Always on the hunt to introduce Dirty Dozen devotees to unusual, lesser known varietals (see Juhfark above), welcome to Monica, a grape exclusively found on the island of Sardinia. Its soft tannins and ripe berry flavors make it a popular choice for everyday drinking enjoyment. Great with pasta dishes, fish stews, or pizza while bingeing on Friends.

2015 Pinot Noir, Praxis $22.98 net price, $20.68 reorder     Bill Arbios, a winemaker for over forty years (!), crafts this gorgeous Pinot Noir from a single vineyard at the southern end of the Sonoma Coast appellation, west of the town of Sonoma. Aged in French oak for nine months, of which 1/3 is new, this cherry-laden Pinot Noir is well balanced and elegant. Leg of lamb studded with garlic should match-up nicely!

2017 Fidelity Red, Goldschmidt Vineyards $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder     New Zealand born, globetrotting winemaker Nick Goldschmidt currently makes wine in four countries! His home base is California and he makes this Bordeaux-styled red from a single vineyard in Alexander Valley that he has farmed for over 25 years. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, it exhibits plum, cassis and notes of vanilla. Steak?

2015 Côtes-du-Rhône, Tour de l’Isle $15.99, $12.79 reorder     Made from Grenache, Syrah, and a little Mourvèdre, this C-d-R tips the scales in the quality for price world. It shows aromas of ripe cherry fruit, cracked black pepper, and forest floor. The palate is harmonious with rounded tannins and a lively finish. Rhône-meister Robert Rochhi has blended us another winner that will pair well with a roast or hearty stew.

2015 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colle Maggio, Torre Zambra $18.99, $15.19 reorder     The latest release from our (fairly) new d’Abruzzo producer, Torre Zambra, the 2015 Colle Maggio Montepulciano is teeming with character. Rustic raspberry, spice, cocoa, and coffee notes appear in the aromas, and the palate is medium-bodied and complex. It has a snappy, balanced finish with all components firing together. Pairs well with pizza or pasta.

2015 Château de Rouquette, Bordeaux $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder  Another wine right off the boat, this bargain Bordeaux turns heads simply by virtue of its expressive fruity aromas and palate and its super-modest price tag. Made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s nice and juicy where it needs to be, and has a sturdy backbone. It drinks well on its own, as a cocktail wine, but you can pair it with a steak too!

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